Windsor Park GCB sold for $21.8m

In a sign of some renewed interest in Good Class Bungalows (GCBs), one in Windsor Park estate has been sold for $21.8 million, the first GCB transaction in the estate since early 2013.

The freehold property at 122 Windsor Park Road, off Upper Thomson Road, has a land size of 20,383 sq ft, which works out to a price of about $1,070 per sq ft (psf).

This is just below the two transactions in January 2013, when 2 Windsor Park Hill was sold for $25.3 million or $1,125 psf; while 55 Windsor Park Road, a new house, went for $27 million, or $1,400 psf.

According to the property’s title deed, the latest buyer is from the Tng family, who runs a Singapore company in local development and construction. He is believed to be buying the place for his own use.

The house was completed in 2006 and has two storeys and a basement for parking. A roof terrace, for functions, is said to offer great estate views, as it overlooks most neighbouring plots.

The modern Balinese-style house has a swimming pool and several pond or smaller pool features over the entire ground level.

“There is interest in GCBs as potential buyers feel there has been some price decline. They are waiting on the sidelines and, if the sellers were to be a bit more flexible or reasonable in their pricing, a few more GCBs may be transacted in the next quarter,” said Mr Michael Lam, director of the GCB division at Global Estate Management, who brokered the latest deal.

GCB prices fell about 5 per cent last year but are holding up better than those of luxury condos, said Mr Ong Kah Seng, R’ST Research director. Deals have been slightly fewer. There were 12 GCBs sold for a total of $394.11 million in the first three quarters, down a tad from 16 GCBs for a total of $416.2 million in the same period last year, he noted.

However, buyers are still keen on homes in GCB areas, with about 20 such homes sold for about $500.5 million in the first three quarters of this year. Buyers interested in the Windsor Park area can also consider 53 Windsor Park Road, a 21,091 sq ft freehold GCB that is up for tender sale by Colliers at an indicative price of $27 million or $1,280 psf.

This modern Balinese-style house has two storeys and a basement for parking. It is said to have a roof terrace which offers great estate views, as it overlooks most neighbouring homes.

Queen Astrid GCB site up for sale at S$49-51m

A FREEHOLD Good Class Bungalow (GCB) redevelopment site in Queen Astrid Park is put up for estate sale by tender, with an indicative price of S$49-51 million.

This works out to S$1,399 to S$1,456 per square foot (psf).

Located off Holland Road, at the junction of Queen Astrid Park and Coronation Road West, the 35,011 sq ft site is currently occupied by a single-storey detached house.

Colliers International deputy managing director Grace Ng noted that the indicative price is “inviting” when compared to the peak median price of S$1,749 per sq ft recorded in the second quarter of 2014.

In the second quarter of this year, the median price for detached houses with land area of 15,000 sq ft (1,400 sq m) and above in District 9, 10 and 11 is S$1,410 per sq ft.

GCBs are highly coveted here due to its scarcity, with only some 2,500 islandwide.

Ms Ng said that the GCB site at 2 Queen Astrid Park, which is nestled in an exclusive neighbourhood zoned for GCBs, would not have been available for sale had it not been an estate sale.

The draw of the GCB site at 2 Queen Astrid Park lies in its exclusivity as it is on elevated grounds in tranquil surroundings with lush greenery, and yet with easy accessibility to Holland Village and Orchard Road.

“Furthermore, there is the potential for sub-division into two smaller plots, which is a rare attribute and would appeal to developers,” Ms Ng said.

The GCB site enjoys wide double road frontages onto Queen Astrid Park and Coronation Road West, with good accessibility via the Ayer Rajah Expressway and Pan Island Expressway, as well as Holland Village and Buona Vista MRT stations. The tender for the site closes on Nov 12.

The second quarter of this year saw a surge in the number and value of transactions in GCB areas – to at least 11 deals totalling S$282.3 million, up from just four deals adding up to S$95.3 million in the first quarter.

In recent transactions involving GCBs, a 31,125 sq ft site at 45 Belmont Road was sold in June for S$1,420 per sq ft while a detached house sitting on a 21,426 sq ft site at 26 Bin Tong Park was also sold in the same month for S$1,400 per sq ft.

In July, a Queen Astrid Park GCB was sold for S$32 million or about $1,169 psf on a 27,373 sq ft freehold plot. This plot cannot be subdivided. The buyer was Liu and Lee Investment, a company led by the low-key property investor Liu Shek Yuen.

Elsewhere, prime Good Class Bungalow land along Nassim Road could come on the market in the next several months as the British High Commission mulls over the potential sale of unused land at the Eden Hall site.

GCB site off Upper Thomson for sale

A FREEHOLD Good Class Bungalow (GCB) site off Upper Thomson Road has been put up for the sale by public tender at an indicative price of S$27 million, or S$1,280 per square foot.

Located at 53 Windsor Park Road, the site has a land area of 21,091 sq ft; it is now occupied by a bungalow that is part single storey and part double storey. It was built in the 1950s and sits on elevated grounds.

The property sits amid other landed housing and low-rise condominiums, and is near Thomson Plaza, Sin Ming Plaza, Thomson V, Thomson Imperial Court and the shophouses along Upper Thomson Road.

Stella Hoh, executive director of Colliers’ investment services, said: “With only 34 GCB plots in the area, there have been rarely any plots being offered for sale in the past few years. The last two recorded transactions in the vicinity were a 22,481 sq ft site sold for S$25.3 million in January 2013; another 19,280 sq ft property was sold for S$27 million in December 2012.”

She added that, going by caveats lodged, there were 25 GCB transactions worth a total of S$543 million last year. In the year to date, there have already been 20 GCBs transacted at a total value of S$485 million; the figures are expected to grow, given that this upper tier of the landed residential property market has had a rise in activity lately, on the back of more realistic asking prices from sellers.

The tender closes at 3pm on Oct 21. Colliers is the sole marketing agent for the sale.

GCB site in Cluny Hill sold for S$21.52M

A plum vacant freehold site of 15,097 sq ft in the Cluny Hill Good Class Bungalow Area is being sold for S$21.52 million or S$1,425 per square foot based on the land area.

The property is being sold by Standard Chemical Corporation. The buyer is Aston Holdings, Realstar Premier Group, which brokered the transaction, told BT.

A company search revealed that Aston is 90 per cent owned by Tan Koo Chuan, who also controls developer Yi Kai Group.

Based on caveats data, the Cluny Hill property was previously transacted in 2005 at S$6.64 million. The site includes three conservation trees.

Realstar Premier estimates it may cost S$6-8 million to build and fit out a new bungalow with a gross floor area of about 8,000-10,000 sq ft on the site.

The transacted price of S$21.52 million is lower than the S$24 million that the seller is understood to have looked for earlier this year.

The S$1,425 psf on land area at which the property is being sold is lower than the S$1,659 psf at which a GCB along Cluny Road facing the Botanic Gardens was transacted at in February 2014.

Market watchers suggest one factor for the lower price for the Cluny Hill property is that there is a power station next door.

Realstar Premier Group managing director William Wong said: “Most potential buyers of GCBs these days are looking for properties in the S$20-25 million range. About two years ago, in the first half of 2013, the budget was typically S$25-30 million.

“With sellers having lowered their price expectations, we are starting to see more GCB deals in this range and I believe there should be a pick-up in the number of transactions. At current levels, prices are attractive for buyers.”

He added that the typical profile of GCB buyers currently are new citizens as well as those living in smaller bungalows and aspiring to upgrade to a GCB.

GCBs are the most prestigious type of landed housing in Singapore. The Urban Redevelopment Authority has designated 39 locations on mainland Singapore as Good Class Bungalow Areas – with strict planning rules to preserve their exclusivity and low-rise character.

Binjai Rise mortgagee-sale GCB sold for about $13m

A partially completed Good Class Bungalow (GCB) at 15 Binjai Rise, located next to the noisy Pan Island Expressway, has finally been sold – after two rounds of auctions and a tender.

Talk in the market is that the price paid for the mortgagee-sale property was around S$13 million. That works out to about S$763 per square foot (psf), based on the land area of 17,035 sq ft.

A Hong Kong-based bank put up the freehold bungalow for sale. The borrowers are members of a family who were redeveloping the property for their own occupation.

The bank appointed Colliers International to market the property. It was introduced at the property consulting group’s auction in April at an opening price of S$19.5 million, but there were no bids.

It went under the hammer again at Colliers’ June auction, where despite a lower opening price of S$16.575 million, there were again no takers. Instructions were then given by the bank for the property to be put up for tender. The exercise closed in July, resulting in the recent sale.

Property consultants said that is it rare for a mortgagee sale of a Good Class Bungalow. The transaction of 15 Binjai Rise is not seen as sparking a trend.

The uncompleted bungalow has two storeys, a basement and an attic. The gross floor area is 13,378 sq ft, according to written permission granted by the Urban Redevelopment Authority. By some estimates, it may cost a further S$1-2 million to complete the construction.

Newsman Realty managing director KH Tan, a veteran GCB agent, said the price for 15 Binjai Rise is within his expectations.

“I didn’t think it would get more than S$800 psf given that, recently, a bungalow on Chee Hoon Avenue was sold for S$1,197 psf. That is in a better location on a hilltop in District 11, offering panoramic views. On the other hand, 15 Binjai Rise is in a noisy area, next to a busy expressway, and the site is slightly below road level.” Binjai Rise is in District 21.

The sale of the Chee Hoon Avenue GCB was by tender and brokered by Douglas Wong of CBRE.

Newsman’s Mr Tan, as well as other GCB agents, acknowledged that prices in GCB Areas have been soft lately.

He said he had expected the Chee Hoon Avenue bungalow – as well as another bungalow that changed hands last month in Queen Astrid Park for S$1,169 psf – to go for a higher price.

“My price expectation for the Queen Astrid Park property took into account the fact that around 5,000-6,000 sq ft of the 27,373 sq ft land area is not easy to use, due to the uneven terrain.”

Lien’s grandson pays $21m for Good Class Bungalow

A grandson of the late banker and philanthropist, Mr Lien Ying Chow, has bought a Good Class Bungalow (GCB) in Chee Hoon Avenue after taking part in a tender.

Mr Michael Lien and his wife paid $21.39 million or about $1,197 per sq ft (psf) for the 17,868 sq ft freehold plot, according to caveats lodged.

Mr Lien is executive chairman of Wah Hin & Co, founder of Leap Philanthropy and a board director of Temasek Holdings.

The freehold bungalow, in a cul-de-sac off Adam Road, was put up for sale by CBRE at an indicative value of $25 million.

The detached house, built in the 1960s and renovated in 2005, is partly two-storey and partly one.

The property’s built-up area is about 3,300 sq ft, excluding the car porch and rear terrace, with two bedrooms and a study room. It was believed to be a trustee’s sale.

In another deal late last month, a Queen Astrid Park GCB was sold for $32 million or about $1,169 psf – on a 27,373 sq ft freehold plot.

The buyer was Liu and Lee Investment, a company led by the low-key property investor Liu Shek Yuen.

The Hong Kong-born Dr Liu is said to have global investing experience and had, in 2001, led the purchase of a 201,782 sq ft freehold Jervois Road GCB site from HSBC.

Singapore Christie’s Homes managing director Samuel Eyo said buyers, especially end users, have been returning to the GCB market. Some are newly minted Singapore citizens, he said. “Deals have been done recently and I expect more to come.”

More GCBs sold recently

A COUPLE of large Good Class Bungalow transactions have been inked recently.

Seasoned property investor Thomas Chan is said to be selling a bungalow at Belmont Road for more than $44 million. The price translates to $1,413 per square foot on the land area of about 31,125 square feet.

On the freehold elevated site is a 15-year-old bungalow with about 9,000 sq ft of built-up area. The property is said to have five bedrooms and a pool.

Market watchers point out, however, that the site is large enough to be subdivided into two plots of at least 1,400 square metres (15,069.46 sq ft) each. This is the minimum land area stipulated by the Urban Redevelopment Authority for Good Class Bungalows (GCBs) – the most prestigious type of landed housing in Singapore.

Mr Chan is understood to have paid $30.5 million for the Belmont Road bungalow in July 2009.

Based on market talk, Newsman Realty was the sole marketing agent in the latest sale of the property.

Interest in big-ticket GCBs seems to be on the rise. Last month, 35 Ridout Road was transacted at nearly $91.69 million. On an absolute quantum price basis, this is believed to be the biggest transaction in a Good Class Bungalow Area.

The price is slightly higher than the previous record of $87.5 million, set in 2001, involving a 291,000 sq ft parcel in Swettenham Road in an asset swop deal between Singapore Press Holdings and Lum Chang.

The price for 35 Ridout Road works out to $1,251 psf based on the 73,277 sq ft land area.

Caveat information lists the buyer as Soon Hock Property Development, which is known for developing strata industrial properties. The company’s sole shareholder is Tan Yeow Khoon, who is chairman of listed Cogent Holdings.

Mr Tan is said to have acquired the freehold Ridout Road site with the intention of building a house for his family; they currently live in Sentosa Cove.

That said, industry observers reckon that it would not be surprising if the family were to carve out part of the Ridout Road site for sale – beyond what they require to build their own house.

On the site are an original two-storey bungalow with two single-storey outhouses and a large open green field on an elevated level.

The trustee sale came on the market in March due to a court order arising from the resolution of a dispute in the family of the late property tycoon Chow Cho Poon.

Among the properties he developed was the former Chow House along Robinson Road, which in 2010 was sold as part of a group of nine properties for a total of more than $175 million.

More landed homes sold amidst price drops

MORE landed homes are being sold now that prices have fallen significantly from their 2013 peak.

From the start of this year to April 30, 316 landed homes changed hands, a 15.3 per cent jump year on year, going by caveats lodged.

Experts said prices have come down to attractive levels and are unlikely to fall much further.

Prices of landed properties were down 7.2 per cent in the first quarter, from their peak in the third quarter of 2013.

“Supply of landed properties in prime areas is limited, and buyers may be trying to get some good deals as developers may have to sell to avoid Qualifying Certificate penalties,” said Mr Samuel Eyo, managing director of Singapore Christie’s Homes.

Another factor driving sales is that developers and buyers are anticipating the Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty (ABSD) for second-time buyers will be tweaked – at the latest, by the end of the year – said Realstar Premier Group managing director William Wong.

Many developers are buying sites for redevelopment – typically old bungalows to be torn down and rebuilt – with the expectation that demand will have returned once the houses are ready.

These include sites at Robin Road, Hillcrest Road and Oriole Crescent.

Sales by Realstar, which specialises in bungalows, have nearly returned to levels last seen two to three years ago, when Realstar was doing about 20 deals a month. This number fell by over 50 per cent during the last two years.

Mr Wong said: “This year should be a good year for the landed housing market.”

More viewings and negotiations are occurring in the Good Class Bungalow market as well, said Mr Douglas Wong, CBRE head of luxury homes.

This includes interest from newly-minted citizens.

A furnished bungalow in Bishopsgate sold at a record $2,190 per sq ft last month, or $33 million, to a China-born Singapore citizen.


Bishopgate GCB sets record psf

At least a couple of eye-popping deals have taken place in the Good Class Bungalow (GCB) market of late.

First, a record price of S$2,190 per square foot of land area has been set, from the sale of a luxuriously built and furnished bungalow in Bishopsgate.

The absolute price is S$33 million for the two-storey freehold property, which has a basement and is on land of over 15,000 sq ft. The bungalow is three years old.

Second, word in the market is that the over 73,000 sq ft freehold GCB site at 35 Ridout Road that was put on the market in March has been sold.

The price is believed to have crossed S$90 million. Details of the transaction are scant

The trustee sale came on the market in March due to a court order arising from the resolution of a dispute in the family of the late property tycoon Chow Cho Poon.

At S$90 million, the price works out to S$1,228 psf on land. The property – which is located within the cul-de-sac of Ridout Road, Swettenham Road and Peel Road – is nestled in a tranquil environment among lush greenery.

On site are an original two-storey bungalow with two single-storey outhouses and a large open green field on an elevated level.

The sprawling land is large enough to be potentially subdivided into four smaller plots of at least 1,400 sq m (over 15,000 sq ft). This is the minimum land area stipulated by the Urban Redevelopment Authority for GCBs – the most prestigious type of landed housing in Singapore.

Another of the planning constraints imposed by URA for GCBs is that they cannot be built more than two storeys high (plus an attic and a basement).

URA has designated 39 locations on mainland Singapore as Good Class Bungalow Areas.

Over at Bishopsgate, the S$2,190 psf on land price busts the previous GCB record price of S$2,110 psf set in October 2012, when bungalow investor George Lim sold a newly built property in Leedon Park with a land area of 15,640 sq ft.

Spanning two storeys and a basement, the property has six bedrooms and a pool. Completed in 2011, the property obtained Building and Construction Authority’s Greenmark Gold Plus award.

The Bishopsgate property transacted recently is a modern house completed in 2012. The architecture, interior and landscape design were done by SCDA.

Designed around a Tembusu tree, the property has two wings connected in the middle by a sunken courtyard featuring a 60-foot high copper tree sculpture with water trickling down, creating the sound of soft rain.

One wing houses the living and entertainment areas while the other wing is more private, where the study and master bedroom are housed.

The basement includes a wine cellar, entertainment room and gym. In all, the home has four bedrooms and a swimming pool. Privacy features include a gated driveway, and tall hedges and trees concealing the pool and outdoor pavilion.

The property was built and sold by Timothy Chia, founder and chairman of Hup Soon Global Corporation. He is also chairman of Gracefield Holdings and sits on the boards of several listed companies.

The buyer is said to be a former Chinese citizen turned Singapore citizen. Realstar Premier Group brokered the transaction.

Based on data from CBRE Research, from January to April this year, six properties were sold in GCB Areas totalling S$125.82 million.

For the whole of last year, there were 28 transactions amounting to S$626.14 million.

Ridout bungalow in family row almost sold

A PRIME good-class bungalow that has been caught up in a 10-year-long family dispute is finally close to being sold.

The new owner of the 73,277 sq ft site at 35 Ridout Road is expected to be revealed around May 22 after a tender process that attracted a top bid of about $85 million.

But it has been a fractious journey to get to this point.

The property was the family home of the late property investor Chow Cho Poon, who died in 1997, leaving his estate to his wife and three sons. His daughter was left just $1,000. However, she will get more from her mother’s bequest.

Nine properties in the estate, including the office building Chow House, which is now being redeveloped into Crown at Robinson, were sold for about $175 million in 2010.

But his will sparked friction and held up its execution.

Then Mr Chow’s wife executed a deed of trust and a deed of family agreement to redistribute her share of his estate as well as her own assets.

The sprawling home in Ridout Road that had been left to her was placed in a trust, which also contained shares, cash, jewellery and other objects. Her sons were to get a 30 per cent cut each and her daughter, 10 per cent.

The rest of her assets went into an estate, from which her sons would get one-third each and her daughter, $500,000.

But this just clouded the legal waters. After she died in 2002, the estates of both parents could not be settled due to outstanding debts and loans that were disputed.

Assets had mainly been tied up as shares in the companies, but this was resolved when the firms were liquidated following a court order in 2008. The death of both parents and the tangled wills ignited bitter disputes among the children that have involved many legal actions.

The daughter, Mrs Betty Sheares, sued her brothers in 2004, claiming they failed to give her any information on the administration of the trust.

In 2005, youngest brother Kwok Ching, an eye surgeon, sued the other two, claiming they acted oppressively against him as a minority shareholder in the family’s companies.

The firms were later ordered to be wound up on the application of eldest son Kwok Chi, who is also an eye surgeon.

“Looking at the actions of the parties over the years, the outlook for an amicable resolution of their various difficulties with one another appears bleak,” said Justice Judith Prakash at the time, adding that a clean break could benefit them all and “reduce the prospect of further litigation”.

No one has lived in the house since Mrs Chow died. The three brothers live in Hong Kong and Mrs Sheares lives elsewhere in Singapore.

But that has not stopped disputes arising over it.

While some simply wanted it sold at the best market price, second son Kwok Chuen, an architect, said in an affidavit he strongly opposed the sale of the house, which was purchased by his late father in the 1950s.

“I have many fond memories of my family in the property (and) am sure my siblings share the same sentiments… It has always been my late mother’s wish and intention for the property to remain within the family and preserve our family heritage,” he said.

He could not buy out his siblings’ shares, but asked the court to direct that the property be subdivided into four plots, with the family home retained.

The siblings also squabbled over items in the house. These included two portraits of the parents, said to have been done by the late Singapore pioneer artist Liu Kang, and 174 pieces of jewellery.

A resolution drew nearer in 2011 when Padang Trust Singapore, appointed that year by the sons as the new trustee of the trust set up by Mrs Chow, sought guidance from the High Court, including what to do with the house.

The court ordered that the property be put up for tender, with the trustee to then conduct an auction among the four siblings within a month after the tender closed to give them the right to top the highest bid.

But if any of them sought to buy the property, they were barred from using their entitlement as a beneficiary against the purchase price.

Now, more than 10 years after the death of both parents, Mrs Sheares, who is the daughter-in-law of the late president Benjamin Sheares, and her brothers stand to get millions.

The Ridout Road property was put up for tender by DTZ in March and the tender closed last month with nearly 10 bids, the highest at about $85 million. A re-tender late last month could have resulted in an even higher bid.

The site of the two-storey bungalow, with two single-storey outhouses, is large enough to be divided into four plots of good-class bungalow land, DTZ said.